Passings: Curly Putman, Country Songwriter (1930 - 2016)

by VVN Music

Curly Putman, who co-wrote what is arguably the greatest country song ever, He Stopped Loving Her Today, has died after a lengthy illness at the age of 85.

Putman was born on November 20, 1930 in Princeton, AL and raised on nearby Putman Mountain. After leaving school, he served for four years on the USS Valley Forge before moving around the U.S. for jobs, eventually settling in Nashville.

Working as a songwriter, he had his first minor hit with his own recording of The Prison Song which went to number 23 on the Country charts in 1960 and had his first top ten as as writer in 1961 with I Think I Know by Marion Webb but it wouldn't be until the middle of the decade that he would finally have his second big hit, Green Green Grass of Home, which was recorded by Porter Wagoner (1965 / #4 Country).  A year later, Tom Jones would take the same song to the top of the British charts.

Over the next thirty years, Putman would have numerous hits on the country charts including My Elusive Dreams, D-I-V-O-R-C-E and Blood Red and Goin' Down, some written on his own and others with songwriting partners such as Billy Sherrill, Larry Butler and Bobby Braddock.

Putman's most enduring song came with Braddock in He Stopped Loving Her Today. The song had been kicking around Nashville for some time when, in 1980, George Jones recorded his now classic version. It is now considered one of the greatest, if not the best, country records ever released.

Putman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976 and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993.

The top ten hits written or co-written by Curly Putman:
  • I Think I Know - Marion Webb (1961 / #7 Country)
  • Green, Green Grass of Home - Porter Wagoner (1965 / #4 Country)
  • Green, Green Grass of Home - Tom Jones (1966 / #11 Pop / #12 AC / #1 U.K.)
  • You Can't Have Your Kate and Edith, Too - Statler Brothers (1967 / #10 Country)
  • My Elusive Dreams - David Houston & Tammy Wynette (1967 / #89 Pop / #1 Country)
  • Just For You - Ferlin Husky (1968 / #4 Country)
  • D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Tammy Wynette (1968 / #63 Pop / #1 Country)
  • My Elusive Dreams - Bobby Vinton (1970 / #46 Pop / #7 AC / #27 Country)
  • Blood Red and Goin' Down - Tanya Tucker (1973 / #74 Pop / #1 Country)
  • The Older the Violin, The Sweeter the Music - Hank Thompson (1974 / #8 Country)
  • My Elusive Dreams - Charlie Rich (1975 / #49 Pop / #16 AC / #3 Country)
  • D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Billy Connolly (1975 / #1 U.K.)
  • It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' to Me - Kendalls (1978 / #2 Country)
  • When Can We Do This Again - T.G. Sheppard (1978 / #9 Country)
  • Baby, You're Something - John Conlee (1979 / #7 Country)
  • It's a Cheating Situation - Moe Bandy (1979 / #2 Country)
  • Do You Wanna Go to Heaven - T.G. Sheppard (1980 / #1 Country)
  • He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones (1980 / #1 Country)
  • I'll Be Coming Back For More - T.G. Sheppard (1980 / #1 Country)
  • Let's Keep It That Way - Mac Davis (1980 / #10 Country)
  • Smooth Sailin' - T.G. Sheppard (1980 / #6 Country)
  • The Bird - Jerry Reed (1982 / #2 Country)
  • War is Hell (On the Home Front, Too) - T.G. Sheppard (1982 / #1 Country)
  • I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again - T. Graham Brown (1986 / #3 Country)
  • I Meant Every Word He Said - Ricky Van Shelton (1990 / #2 Country)
  • Made For Lovin' You - Doug Stone (1993 / #6 Country)

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